Starfleet Marines

Starfleet is not primarily a military organization. Despite its military ranks and procedures, its frequent space battles, and its ships which carry enough firepower to bake the crust of a planet, Starfleet is devoted primarily to the peaceful exploration of space and the policing of Federation spacelanes. However, there are times when military intervention on a planet becomes necessary, and when those times come, the Federation maintains an elite force of soldiers – Starfleet Marines. Starfleet Naval personnel serve a wide variety of purposes, diplomatic as well as scientific. Starfleet Marines serve only one purpose – combat – and they are used if diplomacy fails.

Even when forgotten, the Starfleet Marine Corps is always hard at work upholding the ideals of the Federation while guarding it from any adversary that may present itself. In true military fashion, officers of the SFMC place the lives of others before their own, ready to sacrifice anything for their government.

Marines are carried aboard Starfleet ships, but they have their own commanders and are separate from the regular shipboard chain of command. Twenty-fourth century technology, and particularly Holodeck technology, have made it possible to give rank-and-file soldiers the kind of intensive military training that was the sole preserve of special forces units a mere four centuries before. Starfleet Marines are exceptionally well trained and capable, even by Starfleet standards. They are meant to operate primarily on planetary surfaces, both land and water, but are also trained to participate in space-based operations as well. Their skills reflect the fact that they frequently have to operate in a long-range reconnaissance fashion, often with little or no support from Starfleet.

Unlike Naval personnel, Starfleet Marines must meet exacting physical criteria. They are particularly expected to display above-average intelligence and exceptional endurance.

The first difference between the naval and marine branches of Starfleet that one notices is the rank system. Carried down from generation to generation, the system resembles quite closely the ranking method used in 20th century Earth. The next difference is the militaristic nature of the corps. While the Starfleet navy tends to maintain order in a loose but firm manner, some have called the Marine Corps’ management technique stringent or even harsh. Quite simply, Marine commanders do not tolerate anything less than the absolute best in their men, knowing that to do so would risk the lives of others. There is little room for error in such a dangerous and important field.


Heavy Carrier; the Starfleet Marines standard ship of the line.

Starfleet Marine Corps History

Seeing the heavy losses suffered by Starfleet during the first year of the Dominion War, Starfleet Intelligence recommended the formation of a true military agency for defense of the Federation from hostile force. In 2375 the Starfleet Marine Corp was created. It’s initial recruits came from the ranks of Starfleet itself. The core duty of the Marines is to preserve and protect the citizens of the Federation from all enemies, both foreign and domestic.

In 2376 the Marines saw their first action against Cardassian forces in the Badlands. They proved that they were warriors unlike any the Federation had known in the past. The Marine Training, given at the newly formed Martian Military Academy, conditioned these men and women and honed them into the perfect soldiers. Learning tactics and unarmed combat techniques from Klingons, Andorians, and Vulcans, the Marines entered the battlefield with a logical and intuitive approach to combat.

During the Empire War the SFMC saw extensive combat against the 501st Legion. Early in the war they took heavy losses but they learned from their enemies and soon began to win. By the end of the war the 501st had become the most feared enemy the Federation ever faced and the SFMC was the only military force able to best them on the battlefield.

The SFMC uses a rank system based on the United States 20th century Marine Corps. Many of the traditions associated with the old US Marine Corp also have been adopted.

Starfleet Marine Corps Academy

The Starfleet Marine Academy, located on Mars in the Sol system, is similar to Starfleet Academy but specializing only in combat training for the Starfleet Marines Corps. Twenty-fourth century technology, and particularly Holodeck technology, have made it possible to give rank-and-file soldiers the kind of intensive military training that was the sole preserve of special forces units a mere four centuries before. Starfleet Marines are exceptionally well trained and capable, even by Starfleet standards. They are meant to operate primarily on planetary surfaces, both land and water, but are also trained to participate in space-based operations as well. Their skills reflect the fact that they frequently have to operate in a long-range reconnaissance fashion, often with little or no support from Starfleet.

Unlike Naval personnel, Starfleet Marines must meet exacting physical criteria. They are particularly expected to display above-average intelligence along with exceptional endurance and coordination.

The Starfleet Marine Academy is extremely strict and much more militaristic than the Starfleet Academy. While the Starfleet navy tends to maintain order in a loose but firm manner, some have called the Marine Corps’ management technique stringent or even harsh. Quite simply, Marine commanders do not tolerate anything less than the absolute best in their men, knowing that to do so would risk the lives of others. There is little room for error in such a dangerous and important field.

Starfleet Marines are given training in the following areas:

  • Administration
  • Armory: Beam Weapons
  • Astrogation
  • Camouflage
  • Computer Ops
  • Computer Programming
  • Demolitions
  • Elec. Ops.: Communications
  • Elec. Ops.: Sensors
  • Elec. Ops.: Transporters
  • First Aid
  • Forward Observer
  • Gunner: Phaser Cannon
  • Guns: Infantry Anti-Vehicle
  • Guns: Photon Grenade Launcher
  • Intelligence Analysis
  • Interrogation
  • Language: Federation Standard
  • Leadership
  • Navigation
  • Orienteering
  • Parachuting
  • Phaser Handling
  • Pilot: Shuttlecraft
  • Powerboats
  • Reconnaissance
  • Small Weapons Combat
  • Survival: Asteroid/Moons – Class I
  • Survival: Adaptable Planets – Class K
  • Survival: Terrestrial Planets – Class M
  • Survival: Pelagic [Water] Planets – Class N
  • Starfleet Protocol
  • Scuba
  • Swimming
  • Tactics: Small Units
  • Thruster Suit Ops.
  • Unarmed Combat [or Anbo-Jytsu]
  • Vacc Suit Ops.
  • Vehicle Driving

Starfleet Marine Corps Unit Organization

The SFMC is arranged in a variety of units, each having its own distinct command structure and organizational divisions. The largest unit in the Marine Corps is the division. A division is usually comprised of two or more Brigades. Normally commanded by a General, a division is a self-contained entity in the Corps. Reporting directly to Marine Corps and Starfleet Commands, the division command is responsible for supporting all of the subordinate units under its flag. A division’s mission can be varied or consistent. Divisions are named in order of creation beginning with ‘first’, e.g. First Division [1DIV]. An average division consists of approximately 24,000 officers and troops.

Within a division there are several brigades. Brigades are the largest units capable of mobilization in strategic sectors of the galaxy. A brigade contains two to six regiments. A brigade is the largest possible Marine Corps unit to be assigned to a starbase. Customarily a brigade is commanded by a Force Colonel, who reports to his/her division commander. Brigades can be spread out over many sectors and is responsible for supporting the regiments under its command. Brigades are named in order of creation beginning with ‘first’, e.g. First Brigade [1BGD]. Often regiments in a brigade are given specialized tasks to perform. A brigade is comprised of approximately 12,000 officers and troops. A regiment is the largest possible specialized unit in the corps. Consisting of four to eight battalions, regiments are commanded by officers holding the rank of Colonel who, in turn, report to the proper brigade commanders. For the most part, regiments are specialized, each given a special task to perform within a division. A regiment is responsible for a general mission profile, while allowing each sub-unit to diversify as well. Regiments are given distinct names, based often from their origins, overall mission profile, or even their first commander, e.g. ‘First Division, Third Brigade, Orion Regiment [1DIV, 3BGD, Orion REG]’. Unless noted with a designator, a regiment, battalion, or company is a combat forces unit. On average, a regiment consists of approximately 3,000 officers and troops. The largest Marine Corps unit to be assigned to a starship is a battalion. Comprised of a three to six companies, battalions are commanded by Lt. Colonels. Leading the battalion from a specialized company denoted Headquarters Company [HQ CO], the Marine Commanding Officer in charge of a battalion reports to his appropriate regiment commander. In addition to the specialization of each regiment, battalions are also given specific tasks within the larger Marine organization. Battalions assigned to starship duty are solely combat forces battalions. As with brigades, battalions are identified by their creation date, e.g. ‘First Division, Third Brigade, Orion Regiment, Second Battalion [1DIV, 3BGD, Orion REG, 2BN]’. Average battalions consist of approximately 500 officers and troops.

A company is the smallest unit capable of independent action in line duty. Comprised of a minimum of two platoons, three or four being the recommended number, a company is led by a Major [see Ranks for more details]. Each company command reports directly to their battalion command with the exception of the Headquarters Company. The Headquarters Company consists of the battalion commander, his staff, as well as various aides, clerks, and support staff. Companies are identified with a letter from the Roman Alphabet or as Headquarters Company [HQ CO], e.g. ‘First Division, Third Brigade, Romthar Regiment, Second Battalion, D Company [1DIV, 3BGD, Romthar REG, 2BN, D CO]’. Average companies consists of approximately 110 officers and troops.

The smallest field command, comprised of an average of six six-man squads, is the platoon. Commanded by a Marine Captain, a platoon command reports to the company commander with the exception of those men who serve in the Headquarters Company as support staff. A platoon in the Headquarters Company reports directly to the designated battalion command representative. Platoons are identified with a letter in the phonetic alphabet, e.g. ‘First Division, Third Brigade, 2nd Andorian Regiment, Second Battalion, D Company, Platoon Echo [1DIV, 3BGD, 2nd Andorian REG, 2BN, D CO, Platoon Echo]’. For the most part, a platoon consists of 40 men.

The phonetic alphabet used is as follows:
Alpha; Bravo; Charlie; Delta; Echo; Foxtrot; Golf; Hotel; India; Juliet; Kilo; Lima; Mike; November; Oscar; Papa; Quebec; Romeo; Sierra; Tango; Uniform; Victor; Whiskey; Xray; Yankee; Zulu.

A summary of the Marine Corps units is below:

Unit Type Comprised of… Average Compliment
Division 2-4 Brigades 24,000
Brigade 2-6 Regiments 12,000
Regiment 4-8 Battalions 3000
Battalion 3-6 Companies 500
Company 2-4 Platoons 110
Platoon 5-8 Squads 40
Squad 5-7 Men 6

SFMC Officer Descriptions

Officers have a higher proportion of ex-NCOs in them than is average for Starfleet. They have worked in another branch of Marines before joining SFMC Special Operations and their ‘cadet cruise’ always involves an operation within Starfleet Intelligence. This is because of the amount of cross branch missions that do occur. They are educated to a very high standard with languages, cultures, covert operations and survival being core subjects. They lack an SFI officers training in the more theory-based covert operations and they do not have training for long deep cover missions. Most of the officers have served terms as military attachés in the Federation’s off-world embassies. Sometimes these officers are assigned to Starships and normal Starfleet Marine units as advisers.

Officers receive advanced training in the following areas:

  • Administration
  • Diplomacy
  • Leadership
  • Orienteering
  • Tactics: Small Units

SFMC Non-Commissioned Officer Descriptions

NCO’s are your career sergeants. They provide training and leadership to the Privates, Specialists, and Technicians in Starfleet Academy. Officers are the real leaders – the power behind the power. All Starfleet Marines can expect to go on missions at any time. There are no distinctions due to rank on missions, except for the usual chain of command. Privates with specialized training may be placed on teams with officers, and officers with NCO’s, etc. Starfleet picks the best men for the job ahead.

NCO’s are also required to learn different cultures and languages. They often have served as embassy guards in enemy nations. Due to the rigorous entrance standards and the extensive training SFMC Special Ops enjoys one of the highest conversion rates from NCO to commissioned officer. NCO’s are often placed on assignment within other service branches including Starfleet Intelligence.

NCO’s receive advanced training in the following areas:

  • Administration
  • Leadership
  • Tactics: Small Units

Starfleet Marine Corps Advanced Training

There are special schools within the Starfleet Marine Corps which confer additional advanced training. At times Marines are required to obtain training from the Starfleet naval facilities including Starfleet Academy, of which the last two are listed as. SFMC Reconnaissance requires training from the Intelligence Branch of Starfleet Academy.

SFMC Advanced Special Operations School

There are also specialties within the ASOS. One such specialty is Scout/Sniper Training. This training teaches advanced reconnaissance, survival, and phaser handling. Those who leave this facility, have the ability to be dropped on a hostile planet in a group of two to four marines, find their target, eliminate their target, and return. The missions usually include intelligence gathering and reconnaissance as well.

This school includes advanced training in the following areas:

  • Advanced Phaser Handling
  • Advanced Unarmed Combat
  • Camouflage
  • Communications
  • Demolitions
  • First Aid
  • Fire Support
  • Forward Observer
  • Gunner: Phaser Cannon
  • Guns: Infantry Anti-Vehicle
  • Guns: Photon Grenade Launcher
  • Interrogation
  • Insertion/Extraction
  • Navigation
  • Orienteering
  • Parachuting
  • Reconnaissance
  • Scuba
  • Sketching, Photography, Holography
  • Small Weapons Combat
  • Swimming
  • Tactics: Small Units
  • Thruster Suit Ops.
  • Vacc Suit Ops.

SFMC Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape School

Both Starfleet Academy and Starfleet Marine Academy include survival training in it’s basic training regime. SERE goes beyond this training, and addresses issues encountered by marines on specific missions and operations. SERE includes more advanced survival with the inclusion of advanced courses in escape for POWs [including how to bypass security systems, stealth, etc] and resistance training for interrogations and manipulations [including advanced training in psychology, xenology, etc.]. Additional training in languages and xenology is available as well.

Explosive Ordinance Disposal

This training includes the proper handling, deactivating, and disposal of explosive ordinance. All known explosive ordinance, including foreign made, is touched on in this training.

Starfleet Advanced Combat Pilot Academy

Marine pilots are trained at Starfleet Academy using both the standard Starfleet crafts as well as specialized marine crafts. Pilots, both Marine and Naval, who show exceptional ability are invited to attend ACPA. This ‘Top Gun’ school for advanced combat training includes more in-depth pilot training for combat missions. A wide variety of crafts are taught, both naval and marine.

Those officers wanting to join the Special Operations unit SFMC Recon are required to attend both ASOS and SERE as well as attend Starfleet Academy and study in the Intelligence Branch.

This unit includes advanced training in the following areas on top of the prerequisites mentioned above:

  • Cryptanalysis
  • Covert Operations
  • Electronics Operations: Communications
  • Electronics Operations: Security Systems
  • Electronics: Communications
  • Electronics: Sensors
  • Intelligence Analysis
  • Interrogation
  • Language: [specialty]
  • Signal Intelligence Collection/Jamming
  • Xenology: [specialty]

Starfleet Marine Corps Operations

SFMC operations are indirectly controlled by the Field Marshall. Allowing broad discretionary powers to the field commanders themselves, the Field Marshall is responsible for major and long-term deployments, extended campaigns, and various special tours of duty that do not fall under the jurisdiction of any field command. In doing, the Marine Corps unit commanders are given the power to evaluate and make decisions based on their own observations and calculations rather than having to continually check with their superiors. This by no means allows carte blanche, major decisions which do not fall under the unit’s mission must be verified if possible. A Marine unit commander has similar decision powers to a Starship Captain.

On a smaller scale, units deployed aboard a starship operate under a similar, yet somewhat different, method. In addition to reporting to the regiment or battalion command in which the battalion or company serves, the Marine Commanding Officer [MCO] reports directly to the ship’s captain. This instant communications and coordination allows both the naval and marine forces aboard the starship to conduct daily operations in a manner equitable to both sides. A starship-bound marine unit receives orders in much the same way. Long-term objectives are assigned by the unit’s marine command while the vessel’s CO is responsible for assigning short-term objectives. This has proven to be an effective method for those units assigned to serve aboard Starfleet naval vessels and installations.

Once graduated from Starfleet Marine Academy, the Marines officer is promoted to the rank of Leftenant. There is a great deal of animosity between Starfleet naval and marine officers and crew. In short, they don’t get along too well. The naval complement thinks the SFMC is home to a bunch of brash, arrogant, trigger-happy folk and the marine complement believes the Starfleet navy to be lax in discipline and training. The marines also believe that the navy takes the work of the SFMC too lightly.

Starfleet Marine Corps Special Operations

There are even more elite troops within the Starfleet Marines for special missions. These troops are even better trained for their missions, which would often be covert in nature. Individual specialties within the Starfleet Marines include: Demolitions Technician, Underwater Specialist, Anbo-Jytsu Instructor, Computer Specialist, Communications Technician, Cryptographer, Insertion/Extraction Specialist, etc. The existence of some special operations teams are limited to a ‘need-to-know’ basis.

SFMC Typical Missions

The smallest unit is a Platoon of 24 men, including 3 officers. Each unit will have its own flight crew who are also SFMC trained pilots. The entire unit will generally come under the command of the starbase or starship it is assigned to unless it has specific orders from Starfleet Intelligence or SFMC Headquarters. However because flexibility is the watchword, units can have any number of men but the officers are generally the only ones placed in lone assignments. The NCO’s are mainly always in units.

Typical Missions include, but are not limited to:

  • Starship Boarding actions [in hostile territory e.g. without a Starship for backup]
  • Pre-assault sabotage [disturbing enemy communications, supplies, shields]
  • Guerrilla actions
  • Reconnaissance
  • Insertions/Extractions
  • Military support for Starfleet Intelligence missions if required
  • Generally the very practical side of covert operations
  • War

Starfleet Marines

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